Federal authorities have declined to bring criminal charges in a probe of accusations that a school district in Pennsylvania spied on a student with a Webcam.
After months of controversy, federal authorities said they do not plan to
press charges against Pennsylvania
school officials for allegedly spying on a student via Webcam.
In a statement today, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said there was
insufficient evidence of criminal intent to charge officials in the Lower
Merion School District.
The district has been accused in a lawsuit of using a Webcam
on a school-issued Apple MacBook
to take pictures of a student in his
"After a thorough review of the evidence in this matter by my office,"
Memeger said in a statement, "the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the
Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, the Montgomery County Detectives,
and the Lower Merion Police Department, I have concluded that bringing criminal
charges is not warranted in this matter. For the government to prosecute a
criminal case, it must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person charged
acted with criminal intent. We have not found evidence that would establish
beyond a reasonable doubt that anyone involved had criminal intent."
possible criminal charges in February, after Michael and
Holly Robbins filed a lawsuit against Lower Merion
accusing the district of spying on their son, Blake, in the family's home.
According to the suit, the district gave high school students computers as
part of a technology
initiative, and did not notify families that the laptops were
equipped with Webcams that could be turned on remotely. The family alleged they
did not learn of the capability until school officials accused Blake Robbins of
"improper behavior in his home" and cited a photograph from the Webcam
embedded in the laptop as evidence.
The civil suit by the Robbins family is still pending. Memeger said
he chose to make his announcement prior to the start of the school year "to
close at least one part of this matter."